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Smith: Good news for old suitcases

You'd never guess it, just passing by. But something historic is afoot at a luggage shop in Santa Rosa.

Proprieter Bernie Schwartz is as incredulous as anyone that suddenly his store shelters two chances for folks to do something meaningful with their old suitcases.

Bernie learned from Rob Burt, the chairman of drama and visual arts at Elsie Allen High, that maybe 40 vintage, hardcase suitcases are needed for a special theatrical production to coincide with the school's 20th anniversary.

The play, "Home/Land," was first staged by Chicago's Goodman Theatre in 2012. As it speaks to the journeys of immigrants, Burt found it the ideal piece to celebrate the birthday of Elsie Allen, a school community quite familiar with how current immigration laws affect families.

Suitcases will be a backdrop to to the journeys portrayed on stage. Bernie Schwartz told Burt he'd be happy for anyone interested in loaning or donating a suitcase to drop it at California Luggage by the end of March.

And Bernie told Rob something else: It just so happens that right now he's also collecting used but more modern, wheeled luggage for women served by The Living Room drop-in center.

Often, the women are homeless and need serviceable bags to carry all the clothing and other possessions that they and their children own.

Just imagine, in most of the world retired suitcases have no place to go.

<strong>THE CHP TRAGEDY</strong> Monday on Highway 99 is especially painful to Cazadero's Terry Sheets and his family.


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